Last Updated on October 19, 2020
Detoxing, whether it’s from harsh chemicals, unhealthy food, or even bad relationships, is a great way to reset and improve your physical and mental health.
Detoxing from technology has also become more common, as more and more of us find ourselves attached to technology in an unhealthy way.
Our dependence on technology is harmful, not only because of the effects of social media and Internet addiction, but also because of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation coming from the devices themselves.
EMF radiation is a low frequency energy that emits from anything with a plug or a battery. If it also has a wireless connection to a cell tower or other device (ie. a cell phone or other mobile device), it emits a higher energy form of EMF, called Radio Frequency (RF) EMF.
More and more scientific evidence is showing the harmful effects EMF radiation has on our bodies.
EMF exposure has been linked to many changes in the body, biologically changing the efficiency of and communication between cells, disrupting our reproductive systems, our nervous systems, and even our digestive and circulatory systems.
Read more about the potential harmful effects here. Many of these can create noticeable symptoms of feeling unwell, and EMF exposure has in some cases even been linked to increased cancer risk, as well as increased risk of neurological and behavioral disorders.
Detox from EMF Radiation
With that being said, a detox from technology is definitely a good idea through and through. However, even if you keep your phone off and spend time outside, it is nearly impossible to escape all forms of EMF radiation.
If there is any cell service (even if we don’t have a phone with us) EMF radiation is still surrounding us as electrosmog. Electrosmog is EMF radiation lingering in the air, similar to smog from carbon pollution, and it can have harmful effects. The park, the beach, or a hiking trail all seem like great places to detox from technology, but in reality we might still be getting exposed to EMF radiation.
In a world where EMFs are ubiquitous, there are actually some places where we can escape the radiation. EMF Quiet Zones are areas of low, ideally zero, electrosmog.
EMF-free areas and communities are popping up all over the world as more people are learning about how EMFs affect our bodies. These havens are often created as areas of refuge for people that have Electrosensitivity (EHS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). To learn more about EHS, check out this article.
Visiting, or even living, in an EMF-free zone allows your body to detox from the harmful effects caused by the radiation. There are established health and psychological benefits when we step away from technology.
United States EMF-Free Zones
1) United States National Radio Quiet Zone – Green Bank, West Virginia
Originally created by the Federal Communications Commission to protect the radio telescopes of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the U.S. Navy’s Information Operation Command, the United States National Radio Quiet Zone is a 13,000-square mile area with limited EMF radiation. The strictest regulations fall within a 20-mile range of the Observatory, where Green Bank, West Virginia, is located. Residents are banned from having devices such as cell phones and WiFi routers.
Wireless technology is restricted within the zone because of the sensitivity of the radio telescopes. Radio, cellular, and other transmissions are limited to certain frequencies. Because of the federal regulations in place, this area—which spans parts of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland—has very limited cell service. The area’s topography helps protect the observatory from interference, as cell signals can’t travel well through uneven mountainous terrain or heavily forested areas.
There are about 150 residents of Green Bank, and many of them have sought refuge from EMF radiation. Diana Schous and her husband moved from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Green Bank after Diana started having symptoms—including insomnia, rash, hair loss, and headaches—following the installation of a U.S. Cellular cell tower near their farm.
Having lived in the Quiet Zone for a while now, she can now tolerate some devices without pain. However, leaving the Quiet Zone can still trigger her symptoms. The Schous’ help out other sufferers of EHS by hosting them as they test out the new environment of Green Bank.
One EHS resident of Green Bank claims that even without the cell towers, she and others with EHS can still experience symptoms of EHS due to some unknown electromagnetic frequency that has been present in the region a couple times a month for the past three years. She warns those with EHS that while Green Bank is a Radio Quiet Zone, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t come into contact with EMF frequencies.
Watch Below to Learn More About Green Bank, West Virginia
2) Smart Shelter Network – The Tabauche Refugium
In 1996, Colorado native Gary Duncan founded the Smart Shelter Network after succumbing to a complete state of medical disability. Eventually, his doctors diagnosed him with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity after a career being exposed to formaldehyde in construction materials. He later figured out, too, that he had been living in a high electric field—higher than the 50 volts per meter mandated in building guidelines.
His solution to his problems led him to seek refuge in nature. To ensure that he and others like him have safe places to live, Gary founded the Smart Shelter Network in 1996, and later the Land Steward Program.
People volunteer as land stewards, watching over land in the Tabeguache Corridor. This area is a 10,000-square mile triangle located between Telluride and Aspen, Colorado, and Moab, Utah. Since it is a volunteer program, it costs no money to the landowners or government. Being in remote areas allows people to detox from the harmful effects of EMF radiation. Gary also gives them the responsibility of healing the land, since the land is helping to heal them.
As of 2014, Gary lived in a converted 86-square-foot 1972 Nomad trailer that is entirely off the grid. He goes into Moab weekly for supplies and a quick Internet connection.
3) Snowflake EHS/MCS Community – Snowflake, Arizona
Started in 1988, the Snowflake EHS/MCS Community is one of the oldest safe havens from EMFs. The community refers to themselves as an Environmental Illness (EI) community. Often, sufferers of EI are forced out of normal society into isolation because of the triggers present in normal life. The Snowflake community was founded to foster connections between people with these medical conditions.
The EI neighborhood is located eight miles from the town of Snowflake, meaning there is little electropollution. The nearest cell tower is five miles away, making it hard to get a cell signal.
Most of the houses in the community are built with healthy materials: additive-free concrete, ceramic tile, glass, steel, and aluminum. Some of the houses were built with EMF shielding materials. The Coyote House is an example of a typical house found in this community.
Kathleen Hale, a journalist for The Guardian, spent four days in the desert with this community to understand what it was like living in these conditions. She met Susie, who moved to Snowflake to escape the pain that modern life gave her. During the 1970s, Susie worked in the Bay Area but was plagued with respiratory, gastrointestinal, and neurological symptoms. Like many others, doctors couldn’t explain her symptoms—as the 1980s brought the beginning of the Aids epidemic, Susie thought she may have contracted this disease. Through trial and error, she realized she was getting sick from her environment, which led her to Snowflake.
Now, after moving to Snowflake in 1994, she said she can breathe without her oxygen tank and walk on her own. She now serves as the “unofficial welcome wagon, local therapist, and advocate” for the people of Snowflake.
4) The Quiet Dome – Grass Valley, California
The Quiet Dome was built as a retreat from electrosmog among the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Situated on 11 acres of land, the Dome was constructed to be toxin-free and electromagnetically quiet.
There is no Wi-Fi and no cell towers within two miles. It runs on clean power and has silent appliances—no “smart” appliances or compact fluorescent lighting which are substantial sources of EMFs within homes.
Though isolated in the surrounding forest, it is only 12 minutes away from the nearest town. The Quiet Dome can be rented for vacations, but as of now, is not a place where someone could relocate permanently.
Sometimes, though, a short detox from EMFs can provide some remedy to uncomfortable and painful symptoms. One case study, posted on the Quiet Dome’s website, describes Donna’s story. Prior to visiting the Dome, she was plagued with headaches, heart palpitations, nausea, tinnitus, brain fog, insomnia, and agitation. After a stay at the Dome, she said, “by taking a break from the city and then avoiding spending much time in areas with strong signals, [my symptoms] haven’t come back to that degree.”
5) Healthy Housing Research Institute – Rockvale, Colorado
Formally named the ElectroMagnetic Sensitivity Research Institute, the Healthy Housing Research Institute was founded by Gary Johnson to research housing that can help people with EHS and MCS.
Before retiring, Johnson was an electrical engineering professor at Kansas State University. WiFi and cell phones made him ill, prompting him to retire early and head to the mountains. Since 2012, he has purchased 60 acres of land which will allow him to develop and build houses that are designed for the electromagnetically sensitive.
Part of the land is situated in a gulch, so on three sides it is naturally protected from EMF radiation by the topography.
To begin his research into health housing, Johnson built a test house. The house is essentially a double-wall Faraday cage. (Learn more about Faraday and his famous cage here). Due to the type of construction, cell phone signal is reduced when inside, but to block even more EMFs, there is a copper-screened room for sleeping. Steps were taken to create a home where EHS or MCS suffers could live a more comfortable life.
The house above was sold in May 2014. As more houses are constructed, Johnson hopes to learn better and more efficient ways for creating healthier houses. His goal is to build five houses to sell to five families, and then build 24 cabins in the gulch, building a healing community.
International EMF-Free Zones
6) EHS Refuge Zone – Drôme, France
The first of its kind, the EHS Refuge Zone is located on a piece of untouched, private land in the southeastern part of France. Next-Up, an NGO, created this area of refuge for people afflicted with EHS symptoms. Though not a total White Zone, there is very low radiation, with the land and features blocking most of the EMFs. Background radiation varies from 0.01-0.02 microwaves per square meter, depending on whether you’re in a van or outside.
On site, there is a communal cooking area, showers, toilets, water, a discharge unit for grounding, and an organic vegetable garden. There is even a Faraday cage that can be used for extreme cases. These are all provided for free, but you must provide a pre-approved camper van or caravan to stay in. The Zone does provide caravans for trial use, but only up to three days.
7) Parc de Carnè, within the Vena del Gesso Regional Park – Brisighella, Ravenna, Italy
In Italy, there is a significant public awareness and outcry against EMFs.
Italy is one of the more forward-thinking countries in terms of EMF regulations, so it makes sense that it was one of the first to introduce an EHS refuge site.
Opened in May 2010, Parc de Carnè is the first EHS refuge zone in Italy, and the second in Europe. Private initiative, coupled with the support of the authorities of the Parc of Emilia Romagna, was a driving factor in creating this safe haven.
Located between Bologna and the county of San Marino, Parc de Carnè is deemed a low-radiation White Zone, with levels of radiation below the recommendations of independent scientists and the European Community.
Bed and Breakfast Eremo del Lupo was located in the zone, and its rooms and amenities were tailored to guests with electrosensitivity. Unfortunately, it closed in the summer of 2018. However, visitors are still welcome to visit the nature reserve, and savor the beauty of nature and the EMF-free environment.
8) Australian Radio Quiet Zone Western Australia – Murchison, Australia
Similar to the U.S. Quiet Zone, the Australian Radio Quiet Zone WA (ARQZWA) was created to protect the area around their radio astronomy sites. This area is broken up into three zones: inner, outer, and coordination zones. The strictest regulations fall within the inner zone—cell phones and CB radios are banned.
In the outer zone, where limits are less stringent, the government is working on continued development of the region while protecting the radio astronomy work. While it’s not an official EHS refuge zone, since it’s a Quiet Zone, you would be exposed to very limited EMF radiation.
9) Rose Hill Off-Grid Farm – Horsefly, BC, Canada
Rose Hill Farm is a 162-acre off-grid retreat with no cell towers, WiFi routers, or Smart Meters. Off-grid means little to no electronic devices, and thus little to no EMF radiation. Water is provided by wells and the little electricity that is used is generated through solar panels
There are many options for short term rentals, with cabins listed on websites like Airbnb, and you are able to camp on this property.
10) Zurich House, Swiss Healthy Living Foundation – Zurich, Switzerland
Located on the outskirts of Zurich, the Zurich House is an apartment building that was recently built to tailor to those with EHS and MCS.
The first of its kind, this pioneering project was Christian Schifferle’s dream for many years. Schifferle has been suffering from the negative effects of MCS and EHS for many years, driving him to live a life in isolation. He has spent most of his time in his caravan near the alpine town of Davos, Switzerland.
“I have been suffering since I was a child. This will really move my life in another direction,” said Schifferle.
Schifferle created the cooperative organization Swiss Healthy Life and Living Foundation for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (in German, it’s known as the Wohnbaugenossenschaft Gesundes Wohnen MCS).
After partnering with the City of Zurich, the plot of land for the apartments was donated by the city. The location was picked for the low levels of radon, air pollution, noise, traffic, and electrosmog. Each apartment has its own airlock, to help prevent outside fumes from entering. Additionally, the utility closet is in the airlock, placing it at the maximum distance away from the living spaces. The layouts of each apartments complement each other so that EMF exposure to neighbors is limited.
The building’s electrical wiring uses shielded cables. The walls are made from concrete and hollow bricks that have radiation insulation. Mobile phones and other wireless devices do not work inside the apartments.
Since Summer 2014, the building has been fully occupied. The project has been considered a great success.
Finding other EMF Quiet Zones
It is possible to find many other smaller areas that have very little EMF radiation exposure, that aren’t listed above. These EMF-free areas are often described as Radio-Quiet Zones or White Zones, which refers to the color of the zones on the map that cell phone carriers don’t cover.
Places with very mountainous, forested terrain create a natural barrier from EMF signals that could otherwise travel dozens of miles. Obviously, the more remote, the better. Many Facebook groups created for those with EHS or MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) post anything from Airbnbs to remote farms that you can go to escape EMF frequencies and other environmental pollutants.
As a rule of thumb, as long as you are more than a quarter of a mile from a cell tower, you should be safe from any harmful effects. However, some towers can send signals for many miles, so if you are extremely sensitive you might still be affected.
Many places with radio telescopes, like the one in Green Bank, need EMF to be absent in order to detect radio signals from remote stars and galaxies. They can be disturbed by even the slightest signals, so usually observatories are placed in very remote, protected areas. The Scientific Committee on Frequency Allocations for Radio Astronomy and Space Science (IUCAF) has published a map of radio telescopes around the world. However, not all radio observatories need protection since they might use frequency bands that aren’t disturbed by telecommunications. Some that have Radio-Quiet Zones are listed below:
- Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico
- Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act (AGAA), South Africa
- Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), Chile
- Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO), Canada
- Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), China
- Institute for Radio Astronomy in the Millimeter Range (IRAM), Spain
- Itapetinga Radio Observatory (IRO), Brazil
- Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), Mexico
- Pushchino Radio Astronomy Observatory, Russia
While currently, it might be relatively hard to find a EMF-free place that isn’t on a remote island, or in uncharted mountains or deserts, in a few years it might become even harder. This is because of the thousands of low-orbit 5G wireless satellites that will be able to reach places on earth that current free-standing cell phone towers, or fiber-optic cables, can’t. Remote areas might soon become not-as-remote, but the extent of how much wireless satellites will increase ambient EMF is unknown. It is also unknown how the astronomical observatories, not to mention Doppler weather forecasting, that use these millimeter wave frequencies, will deal with this.
With the arrival of 5G millimeter wave frequencies, there are many unknowns, and many potential health risks. However, for now, an EMF detox in a White Zone might be the detox you didn’t know you were looking for.
Daniel T. DeBaun is an internationally recognized and influential expert in Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) and shielding electronic emissions, with a particular focus on the effect of exposure from mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and cell phones. Daniel’s concern regarding the health impact of electronic radiation emissions grew from over 30 years of engineering experience in the telecommunications industry, where he held a variety of leadership and executive positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, SAIC and Telcordia.
Daniel is co-author of recent bestseller, Radiation Nation: The Fallout of Modern Technology, a complete guide to EMF radiation safety and protection. Daniel is also a highly regarded industry consultant, speaker as well as frequent guest national radio and television programs discussing EMF health issues.